Extreme Disappointment and Anger

Miracle

New Member
Our son returned to sophomore year of college last fall without our support due to poor grades. We brought him home 2 months later because he was hallucinating and delusional. He had been smoking weed daily and using psychedelics. He had no previous mental health issues that we knew of, but they do run in our family.

After 3 months of total chaos, we finally got him to a mental health/rehab facility. He spent 30 days there and has been home for a month. They think his problems are mostly related to the drugs.

I see that he is trying. He goes to therapy, thanked us for paying for treatment, found a job and started working this week, and last week, he finally apologized to his dad for all of the stress he’s caused our family. (Before this, he was acting like a victim and blaming us for his problems.) He went out with old friends a couple of times, but now seems to be avoiding them. I want him to be well and get on his feet again, and I’m trying to be patient.

At the same time, I am bitterly disappointed in him. I know this is selfish and prideful, but it is almost like having him here is a constant reminder of my failure as a mother. He seems to be the exact opposite of who I raised him to be.

I am also very very angry, not only about his past behavior, but about the current disruption to our family. We have 7 younger children, and he brings his cigarettes around, turns on inappropriate shows, monopolizes the computer, etc. I am tired of constantly nagging him. He walks around like an entitled older brother, showing no humility and even sometimes complaining. He was previously very close to our 17 and 14 yo kids, but now they’re not even speaking to him. He lost his license so I’ve been driving him to therapy and picking him up 3 times a week, and now I’m also driving him to and from work. This is exhausting and takes time away from my other kids and things I need to do for them. (He thankfully has an appointment to get his license in 2 weeks.) The only thing we’ve asked of him around the house is to keep his room clean. It is a disaster.

I have approached him about these things respectfully, but I am constantly biting my tongue in order to avoid saying things that would be unnecessarily hurtful and mean. I am tired and constantly on edge. I don’t know how to release these feelings. I don’t want to force him out before he’s ready. I just need suggestions for better dealing with my emotions re: all of this.
 
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BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Hi and I am so sorry. This has to be very hard on both of you and the other children. It is/was for us


What helped me learn how to handle myself while having a mean, addict daughter is Nar Anons principles. The short explanation of Nar Anon.is to let go of their chaos although you still love them and to start taking care of yourself, your mental and.physical health and your life. There is nothing you can do to hlelp your son. Addicts don't respond well to outside pressure and unless they truly want to get better, they will sabatage all chances. It took me ten years to believe this with my own daughter. In the meantime, my husband, other kids and grands and I suffered. Not one thing I did for Kay helped her. Trust me, she grew up with much love and every financial advantage and we were willing to beggar ourselves to save her.

It didn't work and we stopped before going broke for her. Nar Anon plus a private therapist helped us and saved our.marriage AND our relationships with the other kids who were getting far less attention while being great kids.

Whatever it takes to teach you how to love yourself first and to stop enabling your son is where you need to go, what you need to do. Nothing else will help your despair...only learning how to take care of yourself and.letting go of your sons chaos. This is my opinipn so take what you need and leave the rest, as we say in Nar Anon. If you are interested at all, Nar Anon is also on Zoom and online in other ways too, if you don't want to go in person. During COVID, we are doing Zoom.

If you have a higher power....I find that to be my biggest helper.

Is your son able to ride his bike to work until he gets his license? Do you let him cook and wash his own clothes? We did everything for Kay, even after we bought her her own home and she.lost the home and never did learn to take care of her simple needs.

Blessings and hugs.
 

Miracle

New Member
Thanks, Busy. Your advice is helpful, and I think you're right. I need to focus on my own well being and that of my other kids. It is hard to take the focus of off him with him living here, but that's what I need to do. I will consider NarAnon.

My son can't bike to work, but thankfully there are only 2 weeks left until he gets his license. We are trying to do as little as possible for him. We did not work things out with his old roommates, pay for his broken lease, pay overdo bills, pay for phone service (he currently has no phone), fix his negative bank account, buy cigarettes, or give him money. The money we would have spent on college was used for private mental health/rehab, and we told him we won't do that again. I'm not doing his laundry. We're letting him live here rent free and eat with the family, and once he gets his license we'll let him use the family car to go back and forth to work and therapy. We don't want to be hard on him. Just want to encourage him to grow up!

I have been trying to help him figure out his future, and I could probably direct that energy elsewhere. He doesn't want our advice anyway. He can easily rebound from this - just needs to make better choices. But I can't do it for him...

I really appreciate your advice.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
once he gets his license we'll let him use the family car to go back and forth to work and therapy.
Dear Miracle; there are similar aspects in our stories--but my son is 32 years old!

I think you are being kind and supportive. But you're human after all. Any parent would have feelings. After all, your life was upended too. And to have to use the money saved for his college, on mental health and drug treatment--is heartwrenching and maddening. Personally, I would be furious.

First. Is there Uber or Lfyt where you live? I would consider alternatives to his using the family car. Or at least give it hard thought. Is he demonstrating maturity, trustworthiness, responsibility, stability and self-control, to the extent that you are entirely confident that he will handle the vehicle with care, adhere to your limits, and use it safely?

I recognize you want him to work and he needs to work, but it can't be such that the solution could create more and worse problems.

I know how hard it is to live with them when they've adopted habits we don't approve up, when they feel entitled to have things their way, try to dominate or buck the system. With 7 other children you have a lot on the line. What about asking him to move out to a place that is close enough for him to walk or ride a bike to the job. For example in a sober living home.

Maybe I have become hard and cynical, but if he is mentally stable, why should your life become harder, and more complicated, because he has decided to act poorly. Of course--I am one to talk. My own son is mentally ill and I wonder if I will ever be out of the situation we are in. But in your case, if it's purely drugs, it's a different story. Your son may well be able to take on more responsibility for his day-to-day life. And he should, in my opinion. It's good for him. I became self-supporting and lived entirely on my own resources at 18. I learned from my mistakes. I don't think it was the worst thing.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
Miracle, I can really relate to everything you say. I've been where you are now. It's hard not to give the practical support such as driving, because we want them to continue to make progress, not lose their jobs etc. I totally get it. But in the end nothing I did to help my son really made a difference.

For the moment, my son is stable - he's working in a good job and is living independently. This only happened after I reached the end of my rope and stopped trying to solve his problems. I love my son (although there are times where I don't like him very much) and I want the best for him, but I've learned that the only person who can change his life is my son himself.

Don't get me wrong, I still help out now and then, but it's on my terms. For instance this week he is having oral surgery and I am driving him and picking him up. We have also lent him the money for this expensive surgery, but we have a payment plan set up. My husband sat with my son while he set up a weekly direct transfer of money into our account. Of course, there's a chance that he might stop this payment, but he's been stable for a while, is earning money and has earned some of our trust back, so we are prepared to take the risk. (And the money is paid directly to the surgeon so we know he can't use it for anything else!)

Regarding your son, I agree with the others that it would be best if he could find alternative transport. However if that's not possible I would be making sure you give him a deadline. E.G. I will do this for two more weeks but then it is up to you. Hopefully by them he will have the licence and will be able to drive himself, but if not, he knows finding an alternative is up to him.

I guess what I'm saying is, for your own sake it might be best to set some hard boundaries - including perhaps a deadline for how long he can stay living in the family home. We did this with our son - gave him a deadline and that worked well. (Although, I must admit, we did provide assistance to move out.)

We have set hard boundaries and he knows he can never again live in the family home. He also knows that we are not prepared to 'bail him out' of any trouble he finds himself in. The surgery payment is a loan and I wouldn't have considered paying this a year ago - when things were bad. But 12 months down the track he's earned back a bit of our trust, so hopefully we won't be burned by this decision. (It's a risk, though, and we know that.)

Only you know what's best for your family, but I just want to say you shouldn't feel guilty about any of the feelings you're having and that it's okay (even for the best sometimes) to withdraw practical support. Not enabling your child doesn't mean you don't love him or want the best for him. Whatever you decide to do, remember you son is responsible for how his life turns out, not you.
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
So agree. We are trying to raise men and not dependable little boys.

My son is 25 and in school full time and getting A's but he quit his job at a fast food place and now trying to find another job outside of fast food but not trying very hard.

He has a lot of money in the bank due to the stimulus payments and his Pell Grant and pays for his truck and other things but him being home a lot is maddening to me. Too much couch time. Very enabled attitude!!!

I am on him a lot. I am tough. And I don't care. I know someday he will understand and thank me.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Miracle,

Trust me when I say I don't have all the answers but I think one of the many mistakes I made was trying to solve my two sons problems all the time. From the littlest to the biggest. I realize now that this created a lack of self worth in them. It's probably more work for me to allow them time to figure out a plan. I'm a person who has a plan a, b c etc. and I'm easily frustrated when someone doesn't even have a plan A! But that's on me and is part of my being the change in the situation.

I would suggest you sit down with your eldest son and ask him to think about what he thinks could be the solution. Ask him what he thinks he should be responsible for and to set out some guidelines for these things and a timeline for getting back to you on this.

Tell him you'd like his help with laundry, clean up of his room and figuring out an alternative plan for rides to and from work (maybe another co-worker lives on route..but there I go again finding the solutions :() A very hard habit to break.

Anyways, you see what I mean. Try to put it back on him to find solutions and if they're somewhat "reasonable" encourage and praise him for these decisions.

It's not easy but not making him have to figure out how to make his situation better will just cause you to repeat mistakes with him...at least that's my experience. We want to fix the situation for them but we tend to take them out of the equation and take full responsibility to get the job done because in the short term it's easier but in reality it's not. We will only arrive at the same problem with a different scenario again.
 

startingfresh

Active Member
Miracle, my son transitioned to a sober living apartment after 30 day treatment. He is across the country from me so it was more
difficult for me to get involved and that was probably a good thing. The program had a case manager and they offered him several options close by for sober living. He came up with a million reasons not to go, the biggest one being he didn’t want a roommate. It seemed each day that he called with news why this and that wasn’t going to work. Finally he went and boy do i wish we had stumbled across this sooner. He has to follow the rules to be able to stay there (work or volunteer, go to meetings, weekly drug tests or breathalyzer, ) He finally has the structure he needed that wasn’t me.And he enjoys it there! He has made friends , and they hold each other accountable . They carpool to meetings and they have given him a perspective on life that he needed. Of course it’s up to him but it does seem to be the perfect combination of freedom and structure. He has a month to month lease that he has to pay as well. Also he is in a program through his rehab that meets several times a week for therapy, medication management, group therapy etc. I hope he continues to use his resources .We too used his college funds for this treatment. Insurance covers a lot but still costly.
 

Miracle

New Member
I thought our son was going to go to sober living near his rehab, and I was thinking that would be best, but his case manager said that wasn’t a good option for him, and we need to keep a close eye on him.

He is still mildly psychotic. Not totally out of it like he was, thankfully, but still has some lingering false beliefs. From what I understand, drugs can trigger a mental disorder that persists even after the person stops using, and it can take a year to 18 months to fully recover.

I have read each one of your replies several times, and I appreciate hearing about your experiences. I agree that this is his life to sort out, and I need let him sort out his own problems.

Right now I feel so mentally and physically exhausted that I have no choice but to let go. I told his dad that I can’t do this anymore, and he is going to help him with rides until our son gets his replacement license. My husband doesn’t have as much of a problem remaining detached.

There are a lot of things I have been worrying about and wanting to fix that I need to just let him figure out. Probably the best thing I can do right now is focus on my other kids and pray.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Although this is certainly not always the case..... but so often father's can detach better than us. For me, although both of us run a lucrative business, my main identity was as Mom. My heart was in that mode first. If any of my kids failed, I had failed.

I don't think Husband took parenting as personally. He was more in the moment so he enjoyed the kids more, although Kay got him upset on a daily basis....being a typical man he wanted to fix her, like he fixes work problems or mechanical problems and he couldn't. Then he would withdraw and follow my.ideas in order to at least make ME feel better. Until he couldn't do it anymore that way. Then he took himself out of it, causing trouble in the marriage.

Kay played me far more than she played her father.because I reacted more than him. Also, Husband sought solace hanging out with the other kids, especially sporting activities with our son...and solitary reading, fishing or visiting friends. When Kay was in decline, I didn't really want to do anything at all so I didn't join him. He encouraged me to but I was too sad and gave into the sadness, not a good thing. Glad I got out of that. Husband was much smarter about handling grief and sadness than I was.

Sorry for the rant. I just saw something....and it triggered this.

Love and prayers.
 
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RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
My son is 25 and was a former difficult child. I still let everything he does affect me so it's best if he lives on his own but he cannot afford it right now because he is in school full time.

We are moving back to Chicago when I retire in 5 years but our son would like to go ahead of us so hopefully it will work out and he will find a job there when he graduates in December.

I really need him to be on his own and do his own thing. I get upset when he drinks beer, sometimes more than I think he should or games with friends from Chicago. He has no friends here and no girlfriend. He had a bad experience so now doesn't want one.

I think it's best adult children live away from mom.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
RN, I so agree. Best for them and us. It's hard not to over parent our kids when they are home. I'm sure this is true even if they are 45!!!!
 

Miracle

New Member
My son was in and out of the hospital most of January until we could get him into a private facility. I got a surprise call from one of those hospitals today saying they had located his wallet. She said for some reason, someone opened a locked drawer that is never used and found his wallet complete with his DL. I consider it a gift from God! We thought he had lost while wandering the streets.

So we don’t have to wait another 2 weeks for the DL appointment. He’s going to start driving himself tomorrow. He’ll drive an extra car his grandfather bought that his sister also uses. I am a bit nervous, but hoping and praying it all works out and he sticks to our boundaries. If not, he’ll lose use of the car and have to figure something out. I’m not going to drive him again.

I cannot even describe how exhausted I feel. I am 44 years old and also nursing a 1 yo baby. Today, my husband marveled at how gray my hair has become since all of this started. I am so thankful for this unexpected blessing. I am hoping he will now manage himself and leave the rest of us to recover and move forward!

And I also agree that it’s best for adult children to live away from mom!!!
 
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